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The Newcastle and England Star Who Never Cost A Penny

8 years ago

A question was recently posed as to which player holds the record in English football for making the most moves without ever commanding a transfer fee.

One candidate who has been put forward for the ‘award’ actually played for Newcastle United and made five moves without a penny paid in transfer fees. Any ideas?

The player revealed in The Guardian article in question, is Newcastle and England’s Sol Campbell who played for Spurs, Arsenal (twice), Portsmouth, Notts County and Newcastle without a fee ever being paid.

Campbell of course became infamous as he was of the first to wangle a Bosman by seeing out his contract and made a quite unbelievable move to Arsenal for nothing. The player’s justification at the time being, “I could have made more money by going abroad but I felt this was the place to be.”

The Bosman transfers were probably one of the major factors in helping to drive up wages, greedy players manipulating the situation to eventually leave their clubs for nothing and picking up enhanced wages as a result. Then a knock on effect as other players wanted contracts that matched those arriving on Bosmans/Frees. Just look at the contracts given to Viduka and Geremi by Sam Allardyce in his short (but far too long) time at St.James’ Park.

Amusingly, Campbell persuaded Wenger to cancel his Arsenal contract as he said he needed to get away from England, before then signing on at Portsmouth on a free, the Arsenal manager then amusingly asking Campbell, “Have you sold Portsmouth to a foreign country.”

Three years after moving to Pompey, Campbell was again out of contract and signed for (what was claimed then) money-rich League Two Notts County, on a claimed £10m contract over five years, the drop in playing level described by Campbell as a ‘trade-off’.

When the money didn’t appear at Notts County as promised, Campbell then began training at Arsenal and won a contract until the end of 2009/10 before Newcastle then picked him up on yet another free for the following season.

Newcastle managed to get five starts out of the central defender and the decision to sign him on a free for a year was one of the negatives some claimed Mike Ashley had put against Chris Hughton when in charge at St.James’ Park.

Sol Campbell – the archetypal modern day football player.

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